Roast Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Pasta Pesto

by Kirke on July 27, 2014

Roast Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Pasta Pesto
Roast Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Pasta Pesto
Roast Chicken with Wild Mushrooms and Pasta Pesto

 

The final and fifth recipe for my Five Fast Chicken Dinners for a Family of Four is Roast Chicken Pasta, featuring wild mushrooms, and tossed with pesto sauce. Some cooks outside the SF Bay Area might find it difficult to procure fresh wild mushrooms, or freshly prepared pesto from their local grocers. I understand your frustration, yet, as I point out below there are many options for substitutions. Any fresh mushroom you can find will do fine, and if you can locate dry porcini mushrooms, once reconstituted in warm water, they will add a rich, forest evoking flavor. I am also including my recipe for my favorite pesto, which incorporates basil and arugula. The pesto could be included in your Prep Sunday list of work if you have time. It’s easily thrown together with the help of a food processor, and once refrigerated, it keeps for two weeks. What is Prep Sunday, you may inquire?

If you haven’t already eaten all the brined, roasted chicken you prepared on Prep Sunday, described in the video above, or in the recipes posted previously, clearly titled, “Prep Sunday,” than that is the chicken you should use in the following recipe.

Ingredients:

2-3 oz. per person roasted chicken, light/dark meat, from Prep Sunday, sliced in 1 inch pieces
8 oz. dry pasta, fettuccine works well, or spaghetti
1/4 lb. wild mushrooms, or cultivated
6 oz. red onions, diced, or use leftover roasted onion from Prep Sunday
1 medium red bell pepper, washed, seeded and 1/2 inch diced
1/2 cup pesto, store bought or homemade (see recipe below)
3 Tbs. pure olive oil
2-3 grinds black pepper
1/2 tsp. sea salt for pasta water

 

If you can find true wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles or porcini, select those first. If they are not available, a cultivated mushroom will do just fine, such as oyster, or crimini mushrooms (just a brown white button mushroom).

There are many kinds of pesto available at most local grocers. Pick the un-frozen, un-jarred varieties if you can find them. If you have the time, make your own following my recipe below. I prefer to make pesto with a mixture of basil and arugula. I like the peppery quality of arugula and it keeps its bright green color longer.

  • Wash the mushrooms by soaking them for 2-3 minutes in cold water, and then wipe them clean with a vegetable brush or paring knife. Pat dry and slice thickly.
  • Bring to a boil enough water in a large pot to immerse the pasta deeply.
  • Add the sea salt to the pasta water.
  • Heat a large sauté pan over medium high heat.
  • Add the raw onions and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the mushrooms and sauté for 2 minutes. (And leftover roasted onions, if using.)
  • Add the bell peppers and the chicken, and turn off the flame.
  • Cook the pasta as instructed on the package.
  • When it is just about done, heat the chicken mixture over a high flame until it’s hot.
  • Drain the pasta, and while it is hot, add it to the chicken mixture.
  • Add the pesto and toss thoroughly.
  • Serve on warm plates, removing the pasta first, and then top with the chicken, mushroom, and bell pepper mixture.
  • Top with toasted pine nuts and grated parmesan if you like, and garnish with a sprig of basil or arugula.

For the Basil-Arugula Pesto:

Ingredients:

1/2 lb. (1 qt.) basil leaves, picked, washed and dried
1/2 lb. (1 qt.) arugula leaves, washed and dried
2 large fresh garlic cloves, (or 3 medium), peeled and coarsely chopped
6 Tbs. toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
4 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

 

  • Place the garlic and pine nuts in a food processor.
  • Pulse and then puree until the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the processor bowl.
  • With a plastic spatula, scrape what has stuck to the bottom and puree until smooth.
  • Add about half the basil-arugula mix.
  • Pulse until the leaves are pretty well chopped.
  • Scrape the bottom and sides.
  • Puree some more.
  • Add 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, and the rest of the basil-arugula mix.
  • Pulse until well chopped, and then scrape the bottom and sides.
  • Puree until thoroughly smooth.
  • Add the parmesan, remaining 2 Tbs. of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper.
  • Puree for a few more minutes, stopping to scrape the bottom and sides.
  • Taste for seasoning and oil.
  • Store in an airtight container, refrigerate until ready to use.

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